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Kukai Dance Company performs Basque dance in the streets of Montreal, Quebec


Kukai during one of their performances in Montreal (photo QuebecEE)
Kukai during one of their performances in Montreal (photo QuebecEE)


A group of four dancers from the Kukai Dance Company visited Quebec September 11-14, invited by the Quartiers Danses Festival in Montreal to do a series of performances in the streets of the city. The company is directed by dancer and choreographer, Jon Maia, known for his reinterpretation of Basque dance, adapted to contemporary dances, and his show was very well received. During their stay they were supported by local Basque club members from Euskaldunak, who also attended the performances, and served as interpreters between the dancers and the local audience.

Montreal, Quebec.  The Kukai Dance Company has just visited Quebec, invited by the Quartiers Danses Festival in Montreal.  During their stay, a beautiful collaborative relationship between the dancers from Gipuzkoa and the members of the Euskaldunak Basque club emerged.  According to club president Adelaide Daraspe, Kukai wrote to the Basque club some months ago letting them know about their project and the trip to Montreal, and ever since, the club members were very much looking forward to their arrival. 

The four dancers from Kukai performed various times as part of the Quartier Danses Festival, on September 12, 13, and 14.  The performances took place in the middle of the streets of the city, and were very striking, attracting many of the locals who were curious about the dancers.  Basque club members actively participated as well and helped to translate audience questions as well as subsequent explanations of the dancers, according to Daraspe.

Quebec Kukai 2012

[Kukai dancers during one of their performances in Montreal (photo QuebecEE)]

Special performance

The night before the festival began, the group did a special performance at the Ahuntsic-Cartierville cultural center, with whom the Basque club often collaborates.  “It was a very special moment.  The four dancers performed ‘Sorbatza’ and responded to audience qeusitons regarding the situation of dance in the Basque Country, its history and its evolution,” said Daraspe.  “The Euskaldunak Basque club members translated their words into French.”

The dancers, in turn, were also very satisfied with the reception they received from the audience.  “The performance went very well in all respects,” said Jon Maia.  “There were many spectators and among them many from Quebec.  They asked a lot of questions, and were really interested.  On our part, we can say that is was a very positive experience.”

From the old fountain, new water

Daraspe stressed that after the performance Euskaldunak members actively participated in the Symposium, with special reference to the contribution of a Quebecois who is learning Basque and cited… Artze.  “She used a quote from Artze to thank the group for their work: “Iturri zaharretik edaten dut, ur berria edaten, beti berri den ura betiko iturri zaharretik…” (I drink new water from the old fountain, drinking new water, always new water from the old fountain.).

Daraspe endorses his words, applying the reflection of this Quebecois both to the work of Kukai as well as to that of Euskaldunak,”because both seek a balance between tradition and  the contemporary; because even if the tradition is old, and the people are old, we adapt to modern life.”


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